In one of the latest moves to legalize marijuana, the president of Peru signed a bill in mid-November that legalized medical cannabis across the country. The move came just weeks after the Peruvian Congress voted in favor of the bill, and now, residents can legally possess, sell, and transport cannabis for medical purposes. Though, it’s still illegal to grow it.
Moving forward, the Peruvian government will develop a list of official importers and marijuana growers who will supply the nation’s medical marijuana patients with products. Approved medical conditions include Parkinson’s cancer, epilepsy, and other chronic or terminal illnesses.
“We’re very happy with the fact that Peruvian law has approved this,” said marijuana advocate Ana Alvarez in an interview with The Guardian. “But we’re not totally satisfied.”
Ana Alvarez is one of the main individuals responsible for the legalization of medical marijuana in Peru. It was after her organization Searching for Hope, a group of mothers who came together to make marijuana oil for their sick children, was raided by police that things started to change. Thanks to an outpouring of public sympathy after she was arrested, Peru’s president started to seriously consider legalizing medical marijuana, and things progressed from there.
However, to fully satisfy Alvarez, the new law would have to include a space for organizations like hers to be involved in the production of medical marijuana, but that’s not looking likely. For the near future, medical marijuana will be strictly regulated to only approved vendors, which could mean that it will become prohibitively expensive. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.
Alberto de Belaunde, a governing party lawmaker and advocate, told The Guardian, “We’ve ensured that thousands of patients and their family members will enjoy a better quality of life. This is a historic moment, and my dream is that empathy and evidence can continue to defeat fears and prejudices.”
The new bill will take at least 60 days before it’s drafted into law. After that point, residents of Peru will be able to use, research, import, and sell cannabis and its derivatives. It’s a historic move and unprecedented in the nation’s history.